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First off today, Lawrence Hurley at Reuters reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up a copyright case involving cheerleader uniforms that the question: Are such uniforms copyrightable works?
The case pits Varsity Brands against Star Athletica, two rivals in the industry. Varsity accused Star Athletica of infringing on five of its uniform designs. However, the case was originally dismissed at the lower court but revived by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which also revived several state law claims such as unfair competition.
However, the case is now heading to the Supreme Court, where Star is expected to press its argument that the uniforms are not copyrightable and that the registrations Varsity was granted should be deemed invalid. The court will likely hear and decide the case sometime between October of this year and June 2017.
Next up today, Andew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that lawyers for Georgia State University (GSU) have asked the court to order publishers to pay over $3.3 million in legal fees and costs following their victory in the e-reserves case.
The case centers around GSU’s of e-reserves, which it encouraged professors to use instead of paid-for course packs provided by publishers. Several publishers sued, but the lower court ruled that all but a handful of the alleged infringements were fair uses. That was then overturned on appeal and sent back for reevaluation but the lower court once again ruled in favor of the school, finding even fewer infringements than before.
In 2012, following the first victory, GSU said it wanted approximately $2.9 million in fees, making this an approximate $400,000 increase. However, the publishers are continuing to press the case, saying that they want new evidence in a bid to “refresh” the evidentiary record and are likely to appeal their recent loss.
Finally today, Kyle Orland at ArsTechnica reports that, within 24 hours Sega launching official mod support for digital versions of its games, various users have uploaded a variety of content, much of it copyright infringing.
Modding has long been a part of gaming culture on PCs with many publishers opening up their games for others to add onto, alter or improve. However, console games have traditionally been unavailable for modding, especially older ones. However, Sega recently made the decision to open up its Genesis/Mega Drive games that are available on the Steam digital distribution service open to modding, which has brought a flood of attention.
However, not all of the mods have been legal. Some mods have added characters and other copyrighted elements from other games into Sega games. Some have even brought in unlicensed ports of other games to the Genesis. While Valve, the owners of Steam, are working to at least keep the worst infringers at bay, many copyright-infringing mods are still available via Steam.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.